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 Post subject: Re: Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise's First Manned Glide Fl PostPosted: 2010-10-11 10:18am
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Sarevok wrote:
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Exactly. Right now, this is the closest we have to commercial spaceflight. Because everyone else is too uninterested to fund anything even remotely like it. So how the hell does that invalidate my point that it has to start somewhere? Right the fuck now, only private hobbies like this will do anything even remotely resembling progress in that area. Which is at least some place to start.


Dear lord how can someone as stupid as you breathe much less post on the internet ? If you think suborbital commercial planes -> Spaceplanes -> Private Space stations you are dumb beyond belief.

Private space industry is making progress alright. Its just that they focus on real products like satellites and launchers. Virgin Galactic is banking on a dead end platform that will never evolve into something capable of entering orbit. If they were developing an independent launcher like the SpaceX Falcon rocket or made a Skylon type craft work then they would be doing something that may one day lead to space. You need a real spacecraft to claim you are advancing private business ventures in space.

OK, take a deep breath, calm down, and try to understand this.

SpaceShipOne and SpaceShipTwo are not and never were intended to reach orbit. NO ONE involved with the projects ever implied that. Even before the Ansari prize flights Rutan stated that the design would not work for orbital flights and he'd have to design something else. They are "Tier 1". It's "Tier 2" that reaches orbit (and "Tier 3" goes beyond).

What Tier 1 does do is allow for the development of things like life support systems and guidance systems that will be needed for private space ventures. The main guidance system of SS1 was unique and not like prior systems used by NASA or the military, for example. It also allows the building of a group of civilian, private space pilots with some experience on short flights before they go on long flights.

It is also explicitly a fund raising tool. Remember this, it's important. Rutan estimates a cost of $100,000 per seat per flight. That's how much it costs to fly the thing. They are charging twice that. This is called "profit". Find enough rich people willing to plonk down 200 grand a piece you not only turn a profit you now have the money for the next phase. You know, the one where they actually go into orbit...?

And yes, both SS1 and SS2 really do go into space. Most everyone in the aerospace industry seems comfortable with that notion, albeit they don't go very far into space. Why do you have a problem with it?

Sarevok wrote:
Seriously dude how the fuck is VSS Enterprise someday supposed to evolve into something that attains orbital velocity and reenters safely and lands ? Its a challenge even NASA has not been able to solve yet with all their technical expertise. You dont do business of cheap manned spaceflight when there is no cheap manned flight option available. If you think VSS Enteprise is advancing spaceplane development think again because it is a complete dead end. You need radically different type of vehicle to reach space.

No one who has actually thought or researched the matter thinks a SS2 is going to orbit anything. That's not it's purpose. It's a means of raising funds for the next phase.

And yes, despite what you think, it is manned spaceflight. Next you will tell me the Curtis-Jenny biplane didn't really fly because it couldn't cross an ocean.

Sarevok wrote:
LOLs @ references to aviation. Historical analogies in a technical debate are the last bastion of the stupid and the ignorants. Can I draw space is an ocean analogy too now ? : :roll:

Sure, go ahead.

But, you know... automobiles started as plaything for the rich.... airplanes started as playthings for the rich... there does seem to be a pattern here...

Quote:
Your infantile rantings aside care to demonstrate a feasible timeline or any plans Virgin Galactic is stated to have for manned orbital spaceflight ? Because if space travel is what they want why not start with that ? Why fuck around wasting money on circus show performences ?

You do realize circuses make money, yes? If they didn't they wouldn't stay in business.

"Spaceflight" is not defined by "being in orbit", OK? You may disagree with that, but apparently the rest of the world voted when you weren't looking. "Space" is above 100km.

As for plans - as stated, this meta-project is broken into three "Tiers". Tier 1 is sub-orbital. Tier 2 is orbit. Tier 3 is beyond Earth orbit. There are plans for all three tiers. Got it? Yes, there ARE plans in the works. But no one goes from Mojave spaceport directly to the Moon. Did you forget that NASA went first with sub-orbital flights, then orbital, then beyond? And the Russians did the same? Do you know more than all those people about how this should be done? If you do, why aren't you doing it?

Right now there's still some wobble back and forth on whether the orbital craft will be SS3 or a later version. Why? Because Branson and Rutan don't want to kill their customers. It's bad for business. As it is, Rutan had his first company fatalities building SS2. This guy built and flew experimental airplanes for forty years without a mishap, a fantastic safety record, but there was still a fatal blunder during this project. Space travel is fucking dangerous. That's why they don't give firm launch dates years in advance. They have emphasized over and over the schedule is safety-driven - they WILL delay things for safety reasons. It takes as long as it takes. Why the fuck are you in such a hurry? Do you want people to die to get into space?

Sarevok wrote:
If you think a few meager few hundred millions is holding back cheap manned spaceflight you are wrong. If Virgin Galactic was serious about this they can go derivations of existing technology like SpaceX plans to. If they want to develop something radical like resusable spacecraft they will never ever have the money to do that because even research conducted by nations have not yielded a single success.

Right, and a couple of bicycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio will never build a working airplane because research conducted by nations have not yielded a single success. :roll:

Except Rutan isn't a bicycle mechanic, he's one of the most gifted aircraft designers of our generation. He's been designing new aircraft for over 40 years, includnig for NASA and the US military.

And what makes you think they aren't using off the shelf technology where they can? Just because it looks weird doesn't mean there aren't familiar things under the hood.

I'm sorry you disagree wth their fundraising tactics. If you have a better idea perhaps you should send them an e-mail explaining how to do it better. Rutan does have a track record of hiring people who come up with innovative ideas, you just might get a new job out of it.

Quote:
Sarevok wrote:
But shroom you dont understand. This company is rich. If they wanted spacecraft they could have built one. Instead they are wasting their time and money building a dead end machine. That is something to be discouraged not considered as inspiring.

Actually, they did build a spacecraft. A reusable spacecraft with a turn-around time under two weeks. No one else has ever done that. And they did it for less money! In a cave! With a box of scraps! Well, OK, in a hangar with a box of scraps. YOU don't find that inspiring but you don't speak for those of us that do find it inspiring.

What the fuck do you know about what goes into spacecraft, anyhow? Do you think it's just a matter of strapping a rocket to your ass, holding your breath when you hit vacuum, and hoping you'll survive? You fucking ignorant tool.

Again, SS2 is a fund-raising device. As I said - cost is projected at $100,000 a seat, ticket price is $200,000. Do you see how this makes a profit? That's $800,000 profit per flight. Do you know how many people have made down payments on a ticket? 80,000. That's 80,000,000,000 towards the next phase. OK, realistically, not everyone who makes a downpayment will actually follow through, but if even just half do that's still 40 billion dollars! NOW do you understand how this works and what they're doing? These guys developed and built a working sub-orbital craft for 1/5 the cost of a new commercial airliner. What do you think their limits are if you give them 40 billion dollars? That's enough to build 26 X-15's. Or 23 space shuttles.

Is this becoming at all clearer to you?



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 Post subject: Re: Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise's First Manned Glide Fl PostPosted: 2010-10-11 10:30am
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Sarevok wrote:
I have doubts they could keep even that small rich niche market. In present environment no one has plans even a replacement for the concorde. The chances of a commercial suborbital transport is slim. It is one thing to lead an exciting life building cutting edge prototypes and being treated as an aerospace community celebrity. but it is another to make it into a sucessful product.

OK, understand a few differences here:

1) The Concorde was limited to operations at a just a few airports in the world. The proposed SS3 will be able to land at virtually any commercial airport anywhere.

2) The Concorde attempted to fly scheduled routes. The SS3 might do this, or it might be a charter craft, in which case you're not paying for it to fly when it's not needed.

3) The Concorde was built to seat 100. The SS3 will probably be smaller, which will probably be more in line with actual demand.

4) Fuel efficiency will be a fuck of a lot better on the SS3. This will significantly reduce the cost of operations.

Of course, the biggest factor will be cost-per-seat-per-flight. That is not known at this time. Virgin Galactic currently believes tourist rides on the SS2 will eventually drop to $20,000 a seat as the technology matures. Would that be low enough, if the SS3 could match it, to sustain a commercial enterprise? Maybe. Launching a satellite costs more than that, doesn't it? Yet SpaceX is apparently turning a profit on it.

I can see the advertising slogan now: "SpaceShipThree: for when you absolutely positively have to be there today..."

Quote:
All I could say is speculation is speculation but I will believe it when I can actually buy a 4 hour ticket from Mumbai to Los Angelos.

Two hour ticket, actually.



Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid. - Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice

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 Post subject: Re: Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise's First Manned Glide Fl PostPosted: 2010-10-11 11:28am
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Hey, Sarevok, guess who could only first afford cars when they appeared? That's right, rich people.

So thanks for actually proving the point that this may well just turn out like the car industry.



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 Post subject: Re: Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise's First Manned Glide Fl PostPosted: 2010-10-11 11:45am
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This reminds me of Enzo Ferrari and his funding scheme for his racing team: design Ferraris for all the rich assholes who want to drive a car named after a winner, and sell them for high prices. This was his model and it worked: his main goal, winning World Championships, was successful because he had the financial backing of his road car work. If you think fucking around to develop nice sports cars for rich people is a waste of time when you should be winning races, you need to ask yourself where the money is going to come from. Branson might be the head of a super rich company bu he is not going to be able to focus 100% of his energies and capital on one spaceship.



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 Post subject: Re: Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise's First Manned Glide Fl PostPosted: 2010-10-14 06:12am
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Also, Virgin is a Formula 1 team as of this year. They are also doing many other high tech research projects.
Branson is doing many many different things, KNOWING 100% that some of them will never ever return a profit. But others will bring in massive amounts of money. So no, I don't think this is not a viable business strategy.


And to bring the thread back from the stupid tangent: the commercial viability of this specific company aside, there is an ever growing number of aerospace companies that DON'T base their income on wining contracts from government agencies/projects. BTW: the european, russian and indian - I don't know anything about the american, japanese and chinese - space programs make money/offset their running costs by selling a service on the world market. And it seems like a healthy, growing market. It doesn't really matter that much to the customer wether or not he books a launch on a SpaceX or an indian rocket. There is even an semi-official "launch exchange program" that has sprung up between the different space agencies, since its much more economical to always utilize the full potential of the launch vehicle, wich they might not be able to do themselves at that very moment.

There have been private entity payloads for a long time. There have been private entity PEOPLE going to space. We now have one successfull private entity LAUNCH VEHICLE being commercialy successfull. If Virgin can bring down the cost of getting to the very edge of the athmosphere, so that passengers experience all the good thing of space travel that don't have to do with staying there, I fail to see how that is not a really GOOD THING.
I am especially astonished by the "we should not have to depend on this private entity" tangent someone raised.
1. No one is dependent on that. Your quality of live will not change depending on wether or not rich people get flown really high by a government agency or a private entity.
2. The government agencies will not provide this low-cost-to-edge-of-space service in the first place, since making money is not their job. Their job is pushing boundaries, doing SCIENCE.



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 Post subject: Re: Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise's First Manned Glide Fl PostPosted: 2010-10-14 06:33am
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Broomstick wrote:
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Sarevok wrote:
But shroom you dont understand. This company is rich. If they wanted spacecraft they could have built one. Instead they are wasting their time and money building a dead end machine. That is something to be discouraged not considered as inspiring.

What the fuck do you know about what goes into spacecraft, anyhow? Do you think it's just a matter of strapping a rocket to your ass, holding your breath when you hit vacuum, and hoping you'll survive? You fucking ignorant tool.

He seems to assume that when trying to build an extremely complex system you just design and build it in one go and it will be absolutely bugfree and safe.
Let me state this as clearly as I can: NO. No, you do it by going in small steps of incremented complexity. Thats why it took NASA two dozen successfull launches to get to the moon. They CAN'T build a fully functional safe space plane right now (even if all neccessary technologies exists, an assumtion I wouldn't make), because they have no experience in doing it. THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT PROBLEMS THEY WILL HAVE TO SOLVE ALONG THE WAY, YET. I don't expect them to anything else than what they are doing right now, its just the sane way of doing it.



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This is pre-WWII. You can sort of tell from the sketch style, from thee way it refers to Japan (Japan in the 1950s was still rebuilding from WWII), the spelling of Tokyo, lots of details. Nothing obvious... except that the upper right hand corner of the page reads "November 1931." --- Simon_Jester

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 Post subject: Re: Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise's First Manned Glide Fl PostPosted: 2010-10-14 01:45pm
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It also assumes that in trying to replicate the shit done with 1960s graphs or whatever, these private companies can simply ask NASA or the USAF for the blueprints, research materials, technical specifications and other details of their super-classified secret space experiments, get it and instantly whip out a whiz-bang gizmo that continues on the technological progression of ancient aerospace pieces of hardware.

Can they actually do this? Or do they have to start from scratch, and despite being decades in the future, end up doing their own seemingly redundant research and development by themselves?



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 Post subject: Re: Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise's First Manned Glide Fl PostPosted: 2010-10-14 05:16pm
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You could not have built SS1 with 1960's materials. It utilizes advances made since then. Remember, too - the Apollo missions were utilizing "computers" that were less sophisticated than the scientific calculators used by high school students these days. Hell, the "obsolete" computer I'm typing this one problem has way more computing power than the entire space program did in 1970. We don't want to simply repeat yesterday's achievements, we want better - stronger, lighter, smarter, faster, and cheaper.

So, sure, what's been declassified is no doubt available, and Rutan might have contacts most folks don't to get some items, but while that might be interesting it's not necessarily relevant.



Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid. - Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

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 Post subject: Re: Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise's First Manned Glide Fl PostPosted: 2010-10-15 03:00am
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Data stored on magnetic drives, the various asembly lines, experienced technicians... there are many things that existed in the 60ies and 70ies that have vanished and can not be brought back, other stuff might be proprietary technology of Boing, Rockwell... And all of those things would be utterly incompatible with what we have right now and thus only of inspirational value. As Broomstick said, its probably not worth the effort to try to replicate old tech.
And anyone doing something as complex and dangerous as space travel (private or public makes no difference) will do all the research and get all the data they can THEMSELVES. Thats a given.



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This is pre-WWII. You can sort of tell from the sketch style, from thee way it refers to Japan (Japan in the 1950s was still rebuilding from WWII), the spelling of Tokyo, lots of details. Nothing obvious... except that the upper right hand corner of the page reads "November 1931." --- Simon_Jester

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 Post subject: Re: Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise's First Manned Glide Fl PostPosted: 2010-10-15 03:31am
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Rutan's goal is also completely different than NASA's. His SpaceShip is designed to use commercial airports from the ground up: replicating Apollo gear is pointless with that goal in mind, since it requires, well...lots and lots of expensive launch infrastructure and experience personnel to man it.

Also, baby steps, as Broomstick said. Nobody holds it against China that they started their space program with unmanned probes and rocket tests, only then moving on to short orbital flights.

Rutan is trying to do something different ; He may fail, or he may not. Even if he fails, the effort will still produce technologies and institutional experience for use later. Either way, SpaceShip One achieved most of its design goals, so it's hard to call it a failed attempt. It's not like every single private space project has to involve the colonization of Mars...



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 Post subject: Re: Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise's First Manned Glide Fl PostPosted: 2010-10-15 04:11am
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Broomstick wrote:
Untrue - SpaceX is also getting into manned space with the SpaceX Dragon, which has moved into the prototype and materials testing phase as of this year. Flight testing will be coming along a bit later.


Please.

Manned space travel, particularly making boosters is a binary business development model, you either:

Fire a lot of test shots before you open for business -- Von Braun launched about 100+ V-2s before it became operational and bombing London.

or

Extensive ground tests of every component, including up to full thrust launch tests like he did with every component of the SATURN series.

Both are goddamned expensive. Space X is doing everything on the cheap cheap; which is why I have no real confidence in their ability to sustain a program beyond the few "WEEE LOOK AT US" flights they have made.

I mean fuck, they were only just getting a handle on the Falcon 1, a 38.5 ton rocket with a 50~ ton thrust engine; and they decided to just jump straight to a 333.4 ton rocket, and cluster a whole bunch of 50 ton thrust engines to make it work.

This is probably due to SpaceX being started by Silicon Valley Tech guys like Musk; who came from a business where you could make 180 degree shifts and massive business plan changes on a whim -- it just costs programmer hours, which you've already paid for along with the computers.

This...is not easily achievable in aerospace.

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Name one other person who has that many.


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Quote:
True, the X-15 was a hell of a lot faster than Rutan's spaceships - but then the X-15 wasn't intended to be a spaceship, it was intended to test flight up to Mach 8.


Wrong. Ever hear of the X-15B?

Sadly, the X-15B was cancelled and the money put towards Project Mercury; when Ike pretty much took away Man in Space Soonest from the USAF and gave it to NASA.



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 Post subject: Re: Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise's First Manned Glide Fl PostPosted: 2010-10-15 08:22am
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MKSheppard wrote:
Broomstick wrote:
Untrue - SpaceX is also getting into manned space with the SpaceX Dragon, which has moved into the prototype and materials testing phase as of this year. Flight testing will be coming along a bit later.

Please.

Manned space travel, particularly making boosters is a binary business development model, you either:

Fire a lot of test shots before you open for business -- Von Braun launched about 100+ V-2s before it became operational and bombing London.

or

Extensive ground tests of every component, including up to full thrust launch tests like he did with every component of the SATURN series.

Both are goddamned expensive. Space X is doing everything on the cheap cheap; which is why I have no real confidence in their ability to sustain a program beyond the few "WEEE LOOK AT US" flights they have made.

Frankly, I don't care if all they ever do successfully is launch satellites, but I don't find it as inconceivable as you do that SpaceX could make the jump to manned spaceflight. I think Rutan has a much better chance of success, but what the hell, right? Let 'em try.

Quote:
Quote:
Name one other person who has that many.

Clarence Johnson

U-2 (NASM Mall) <-- Oldest surviving U-2 btw.
SR-71 (NASM Udvar-Hazy)
P-38 (NASM Udvar-Hazy)
Super Constellation (NASM Udvar-Hazy)
P-80 Prototype (NASM Mall)
(N)F-104 (NASM Mall)

You mean the Skunkworks has that many. Of course, it's easier to have blockbuster x-planes when you have the funding of a major corporation and/or government and/or defense contracts. Burt Rutan did all of his stuff as a private citizens and small company, with a much smaller design team. The VariEZE and Voyager were entirely Rutan designs, not the work of a team. So... Rutan with private funding and a dinky team has almost matched the achievement of a big-ass team with lots of money. I'm still more impressed with Rutan.

Quote:
Wrong. Ever hear of the X-15B?

Nope.

Quote:
Sadly, the X-15B was cancelled and the money put towards Project Mercury; when Ike pretty much took away Man in Space Soonest from the USAF and gave it to NASA.

You asked me if I heard of an aircraft that never existed?

And I don't give a damn if you were disappointed X-15B money went to Project Mercury. The X-plane tech of the 1950's wasn't going to get us into space, except for the most barely sub-orbital if that. For the time and the tech Mercury-Gemini-Apollo was the way to go.



Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid. - Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice

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 Post subject: Re: Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise's First Manned Glide Fl PostPosted: 2010-10-16 04:14am
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Broomstick wrote:
3) The Concorde was built to seat 100. The SS3 will probably be smaller, which will probably be more in line with actual demand.

I don't think excess seating has even been a problem with the Concord, correct me if I'm wrong but I think that the planes were usually flown at full capacity. British Airways was doing a tidy profit per flight for many years. In September I attended an high speed aerospace vehicle design course where a lecturer said that original plans for the Concorde called for a capacity of almost twice as many passengers, and that it was scaled down due to concerns of finding enough passengers. The point was that if those plans had gone through, finding willing passengers would not have been a problem, and scale economy would have led to lower prices and higher popularity of the concept. Oh well.

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 Post subject: Re: Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise's First Manned Glide Fl PostPosted: 2010-10-16 04:27am
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MKSheppard wrote:
Manned space travel, particularly making boosters is a binary business development model, you either:

Fire a lot of test shots before you open for business -- Von Braun launched about 100+ V-2s before it became operational and bombing London.

or

Extensive ground tests of every component, including up to full thrust launch tests like he did with every component of the SATURN series.

Both are goddamned expensive. Space X is doing everything on the cheap cheap; which is why I have no real confidence in their ability to sustain a program beyond the few "WEEE LOOK AT US" flights they have made.

I mean fuck, they were only just getting a handle on the Falcon 1, a 38.5 ton rocket with a 50~ ton thrust engine; and they decided to just jump straight to a 333.4 ton rocket, and cluster a whole bunch of 50 ton thrust engines to make it work.

Shep, I don't disagree with you that having as many ground and specially real flight tests is an excellent thing - and at some point you need lots of flight tests, since the cost of free-jet installations for ground testing is gigantic and can easily exceed the cost of flying the damn thing in the first place.

However, we have now four things Von Braun didn't and would have killed for: modern computing power + modern CFD + modern real-time simulation programs + 80 years of research in aerospace.

Since even ground tests are very expensive, what you do is select a number of critical points (say, choose 10 trajectories between Mach 2 and Mach ??, and between sea level and ?? Km) and run those scenarios in your very advanced and complicated computational model. Then do the 10 trial firings, run the results in open loop through the model, and if after some parameter tweaking the flight thrust, trajectory, various temperature profile, lateral acceleration, etc etc fit snugly with what your model predicts.. = profit.

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 Post subject: Re: Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise's First Manned Glide Fl PostPosted: 2010-10-16 09:00am
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Skgoa wrote:
Data stored on magnetic drives, the various asembly lines, experienced technicians... there are many things that existed in the 60ies and 70ies that have vanished and can not be brought back, other stuff might be proprietary technology of Boing, Rockwell... And all of those things would be utterly incompatible with what we have right now and thus only of inspirational value. As Broomstick said, its probably not worth the effort to try to replicate old tech.


Wrong.

Rocketdyne mothballed the F-1 with an eye towards restoring production with a very intensive "F-1 Production Knowledge Retention Program" that went so far as to record on tape the reminscensces of engineers over particularly tricky problems. In 1992 they seriously investigated restart of production for a failed NASA "space vision" -- the Space Exploration Initiative -- that never went anywere.

And nothing we have built since then has equalled the F-1 since 1973.

BTW; to buttress my point of "Space costs money..."

Quote:
Rocketdyne delivered 98 production [F-1] engines to NASA, of which 65 were launched. A total of 56 equivalent development engines were tested. The company conducted 2,771 production and R&D firing tests of single engines, 1,110 total full duration tests, and accumulated 239,124 seconds—over 66 hours—of engine firing experience. The five-engine cluster used on the Saturn 5 was fired at the Mississippi and Alabama test facilities 34 times, with 18 full duration tests for a total of 15,534 seconds of engine experience. Rocketdyne estimated in 1992 that the eight-year F-1 engine development program had cost $1.77 billion in FY91 dollars.



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 Post subject: Re: Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise's First Manned Glide Fl PostPosted: 2010-10-16 09:40am
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Colonel Olrik wrote:
In September I attended an high speed aerospace vehicle design course where a lecturer said that original plans for the Concorde called for a capacity of almost twice as many passengers, and that it was scaled down due to concerns of finding enough passengers. The point was that if those plans had gone through, finding willing passengers would not have been a problem, and scale economy would have led to lower prices and higher popularity of the concept. Oh well.


Or you know, the US Congress (back then democrat led) could NOT have cancelled the Boeing 2707.

Mach 2.7 to 2.8 cruise and 277 passengers.

Since then; technology has advanced a lot since the 1960s; in terms of stronger, cheaper alloys that stand up better to extreme temperatures of sustained high speed flight; much better computer simulation technology being available; making a 2707 style SST much easier and cheaper to design than in the 1960s.

Plus, the world economy is significantly richer than in the 1960s -- we have a much more robust worldwide base than just "US/UK/France" with the increasing middle class worldwide.

Yet there is no firm real move towards SST II; other than random paper studies; because no company or airplane maker wants to front the development costs for a SST; and thus we are ever stuck in the cycle of going nowhere, because the almighty FREE MARKET wants the cheapest development cost possible, so we get the A380 and 787 instead of a mach 3 cruising widebody.

The same thing is why I just laugh bitterly at the new space advocates; they imagine that if we can place little shitty 10-12 ton modules into orbit economies of scale will somehow magically be achieved; despite this you know, completely failing over the last decade or so that we have built the International Space Station bit by bit -- $12 billion in shuttle launch costs alone; when a Saturn V sized launch vehicle would have cost about $1.5 billion for each launch, and put into orbit 10,000 ft3 of pressurized volume in each shot (ISS' completed size will be 35,314 ft3).

I've had time to review "new" space blogs; and their irrational hatred of Ares I is now shifting over to the notational "heavy launch vehicle" specified by the Senate Bill Obama recently signed -- which is only logical; since Constellation was split into two launchers so that one could be a totally unconstrained super heavy lifter dwarfing the Saturn V, while the other would be designed explictly for crew safety.

Another thing to consider -- there have been over 300 Delta launches ever since Douglas got into the Space Launch business over the last 40 years; and Delta is now a staple of Boeing's rocket division in it's Delta IV incarnation....

...Yet a bunch of upstarts led by a internet millionaire with a big mouth (Elon Musk) are going to somehow manage to go far beyond what Lockheed Martin and Boeing (Delta/Atlas EELV) have managed to achieve regarding costs and performance?



"If scientists and inventors who develop disease cures and useful technologies don't get lifetime royalties, I'd like to know what fucking rationale you have for some guy getting lifetime royalties for writing an episode of Full House." - Mike Wong

"The present air situation in the Pacific is entirely the result of fighting a fifth rate air power." - U.S. Navy Memo - 24 July 1944

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 Post subject: Re: Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise's First Manned Glide Fl PostPosted: 2010-10-16 09:50am
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You ever wonder why liberals and Democrats are all so RAR FREE MARKET, LETS GIVE MONEY TO ELON MUSK!one!one! in complete contravention to their traditional support of big government/military funded scientific research programs?

It's because they see an opportunity to kill NASA spaceflight (which is expensive and takes money away from more useful things like studying the climate) via Commercial Crew/Cargo.



"If scientists and inventors who develop disease cures and useful technologies don't get lifetime royalties, I'd like to know what fucking rationale you have for some guy getting lifetime royalties for writing an episode of Full House." - Mike Wong

"The present air situation in the Pacific is entirely the result of fighting a fifth rate air power." - U.S. Navy Memo - 24 July 1944

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 Post subject: Re: Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise's First Manned Glide Fl PostPosted: 2010-10-16 11:29am
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Could you please provide a rigorous definition of "liberals and Democrats" for that first sentence, beyond the obvious level of "people I dislike?"

EDIT: Also, given how chronically the Concorde failed, making the plane faster wouldn't help much. Supersonic transports are only going to be viable over distances long enough that you can reduce the duration of the flight by a valuable amount; the three or four hours the Concorde gains crossing the Atlantic compared to convential passenger jets weren't valuable enough to justify the ticket price to the average mortal.

For, say, Los Angeles to Beijing, it might work.

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 Post subject: Re: Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise's First Manned Glide Fl PostPosted: 2010-10-16 11:41am
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GHETTO EDIT MK. II:
Colonel Olrik wrote:
Shep, I don't disagree with you that having as many ground and specially real flight tests is an excellent thing - and at some point you need lots of flight tests, since the cost of free-jet installations for ground testing is gigantic and can easily exceed the cost of flying the damn thing in the first place.

However, we have now four things Von Braun didn't and would have killed for: modern computing power + modern CFD + modern real-time simulation programs + 80 years of research in aerospace.

Since even ground tests are very expensive, what you do is select a number of critical points (say, choose 10 trajectories between Mach 2 and Mach ??, and between sea level and ?? Km) and run those scenarios in your very advanced and complicated computational model. Then do the 10 trial firings, run the results in open loop through the model, and if after some parameter tweaking the flight thrust, trajectory, various temperature profile, lateral acceleration, etc etc fit snugly with what your model predicts.. = profit.
I just want to say that yes, this sort of thing can make a huge difference. For me, computer modeling has already been the difference between "measure twice, cut once" and "measure once, cut five or six times, then throw up own hands in despair." And I'm just a grad student with barely-more-than-no practical experience.

Von Braun got a lot of things wrong because he had to do everything by trial and error, with extremely crude telemetry and all too often zero knowledge of what his rockets were going to do in advance once they left the pad. By the '60s this state of affairs had started to improve. Today it is almost indescribably better in nearly all areas of human endeavour (not just rockets; it's something like the LHC would have been undesignable in the 1960s too). There are probably plenty of reasons to shit on SpaceX, but "They haven't done as many tests as Wernher von Braun!" isn't one of them.

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 Post subject: Re: Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise's First Manned Glide Fl PostPosted: 2010-10-17 07:24am
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The airline/aircraft industry has benefited from that too - the A380 for one has done 37 deliveries within five years of first flight. The A320 had a much-publicised crash 20 years ago in the first year it was in service. Even fighters used to have crashes in the dozens while testing forty years back. How many F-22 crashes have there been? One/two? So offline testing standards have gone exponentially better, I'm not sure you can compare things today with even NASA's efforts in the 50s and 60s.



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 Post subject: Re: Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise's First Manned Glide Fl PostPosted: 2010-10-17 12:54pm
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MKSheppard wrote:
Rocketdyne mothballed the F-1 with an eye towards restoring production with a very intensive "F-1 Production Knowledge Retention Program" that went so far as to record on tape the reminscensces of engineers over particularly tricky problems. In 1992 they seriously investigated restart of production for a failed NASA "space vision" -- the Space Exploration Initiative -- that never went anywere.

So? That has no bearing on the fact that technology has moved on. "We" - or NASA, to be precise - could very well build a rocket that generates more thrust than a Saturn V. It would also be safer and cheaper. This has absolutely nothing to do with what we are talking about. We are talking about wether or not OTHER companies - i.e. Rocketdyne's COMPETITORS -
should be expected to go to that level out of the blue.
... and lets not forget the fact that I was talking about a whole industry and infrastructure, not just one rocket motor.


MKSheppard wrote:
And nothing we have built since then has equalled the F-1 since 1973.

You seem to only think in terms of raw thrust... there are many other things that might be more important for a given task. Have there been manned missions to the moon lately? Then why should NASA have build more Saturns V?
And while we are at it: the SSME is a far superior engine, its also still in active use.


MKSheppard wrote:
BTW; to buttress my point of "Space costs money..."

Quote:
Rocketdyne delivered 98 production [F-1] engines to NASA, of which 65 were launched. A total of 56 equivalent development engines were tested. The company conducted 2,771 production and R&D firing tests of single engines, 1,110 total full duration tests, and accumulated 239,124 seconds—over 66 hours—of engine firing experience. The five-engine cluster used on the Saturn 5 was fired at the Mississippi and Alabama test facilities 34 times, with 18 full duration tests for a total of 15,534 seconds of engine experience. Rocketdyne estimated in 1992 that the eight-year F-1 engine development program had cost $1.77 billion in FY91 dollars.

Your point being? That nowadays we have much more experience and data and thus can get by with doing mostly simulations instead of costly tests? But thanks for proving that SpaceX is better/more competent now than Rocketdyne was forty years ago... :lol:



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 Post subject: Re: Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise's First Manned Glide Fl PostPosted: 2010-10-17 02:08pm
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Wouldn't it be cheaper just to buy RD171 engine for heavy lift rocket than develop the F1A. RD171 is already in production so no need to pay R&D costs and build new assembly line. It is more powerful and far more efficient than F! was, probably as efficient as realistically possible for practical LOX/Kerosene engine. RD171 also has to be fairly cheap since Zenit is among the cheapest rockets when it comes to $/kg.

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 Post subject: Re: Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise's First Manned Glide Fl PostPosted: 2010-10-18 06:30am
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Its going to be one of the first and biggest decision the design team of NASA's next heavy lift rocket will have to make. Well, the decision wether or not to use an existing engine in a specific stage is a design question in any new rocket design process.
There are some interesting developements regarding restartable/"dual use" engines. We might see "stages" that are just different operational modes instead of physical parts of the rocket breaking of, in the future. Of course, like everything in rocket science/engineering, it depends on the specific goal we want to achive.

But to answer your question: RD171 might be better, it might not. For the reason... see above. ;)



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This is pre-WWII. You can sort of tell from the sketch style, from thee way it refers to Japan (Japan in the 1950s was still rebuilding from WWII), the spelling of Tokyo, lots of details. Nothing obvious... except that the upper right hand corner of the page reads "November 1931." --- Simon_Jester

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 Post subject: Re: Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise's First Manned Glide Fl PostPosted: 2010-10-18 06:36am
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There are other reasons for not using the RD-171 than just performance. Like it or not, the US may want to buy their engines in-house just to maintain the skills necessary to make them. It's a political decision, it may or may not be the most economically feasible one, but with the extent to which the US depends on space flight for everyday operation, it has good reasons behind i.



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 Post subject: Re: Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise's First Manned Glide Fl PostPosted: 2010-10-18 01:40pm
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The United Launch Alliance is already using Russian made RD180 which is a scaled down version of RD171. IIRC there were even some talk about licensing the RD180 production in US. I don't see a reason why similar agreement couldn't be made regarding RD171 if the US want to preserve skills and workforce needed to make large rocket engines. Russians have the best LOX/Kerosene engines in the world so it would make sense to use thair experince and not to try to reinvent the wheel. NASA could save billions of R&D costs if it decided to use already existing RD171 for planned heavy lift rocket.

Even more R&D money could be saved if it was decided to revive Energia rocket. Zenit boosters are still in production as first stage for Zenit rocket. There are few dozens of RD 0129 engines still in storage, those could be used until production is restarted. Energia core stage and shuttle external tank have similar dimesions so it might be possible to use same factory that builds external tanks to build Energia core stages.

Any space exploreration program that recquire serious heavy lift capability are likely to be international undertaking like ISS so I don't see anything wrong with using an internationally built rocket.

Skgoa wrote:
There are some interesting developements regarding restartable/"dual use" engines. We might see "stages" that are just different operational modes instead of physical parts of the rocket breaking of, in the future.


Do you mean the SABRE engine which would use atmosferic air to burn fuel at low altitudes and switch to onboard LOX supply when air becomes too thin?

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